With the mindset of focused continual improvement, I am using my current piece to explore a more extensive developmental process. This goal was detailed in a previous post, (Let’s Start from the Beginning) – the first stage in this process being the generation of thumbnail images.
My day job as a product designer generally involves starting a new project by knocking through a number sketch concepts to gather my thoughts, but looking for solutions to 3D problems to suit a function somehow feels a little different to working on a idea or ‘vibe’ and rationalising this into an engaging image.
There are a number of interesting articles on this thumbnailling stage including:
- The Thumbnail! by Jon Foster
- Composition Basics: Sketching Thumbnails by Dan dos Santos
- The Secret of Thumbnails by Robert Bissett
to name but a few – worth listing here for next time I need a refresher.
I actually found the thumbnailling stage a little tricker than expected.
The original idea for this piece began as a particular vision in my head, and I found it difficult to avoid sketching that same scene (viewpoint, general details) over and over. I also found that I was adding too much detail at this early stage, rather than working on shapes and tones as a composition in isolation – probably due to working a little too big, spending too much time on each idea and this is where unnecessary detail started creeping in.
As Jon alluded to in his article…
What IS important is getting your ideas down quickly and without over-thinking, thus the small size.
As it turned out, the layout I ended up going with was different from the one I started with (managed to break that shackle!) and while not fully resolved, gave me some practical elements to work with.
Points to remember for next time (every lesson learned builds on the last only when we review what we have done and refine where we need to improve):
- pull back on the detail
- don’t be afraid to think outside the box
- play with shapes and tones with disregard for detail – think jigsaw pieces
- don’t over-think
- quantity – quickly
An idea I found useful was the thumbnail sketching box template on Michael King’s site. It makes more than enough sense to be working on your thumbnail images at the correct size ratio to your final intended piece dimensions.